On April 20, 2023, the state of Missouri saw its first ever marijuana-centric festival come to life since launching recreational cannabis, The Smokey River 420 Festival. Mike Tyson alongside Ric Flair joined the people at Canna Village in celebration of recreational cannabis use. Tyson interacted with the crowd while Ric Flair opened his speech with his famous “Woooooo!” Rapper, Chevy Woods rocked the stage with his energetic performance. Smoke DZA riled the crowd up with his poetic schemes. Not to mention, Joey Bada$$ kept the audience hype and enthusiastic with his performance.
Of course, Wiz Khalifa seized the moment of a successful 4/20 by performing his well-known hits and encouraging the crowd to keep their lighters in the air!
Huge shout-out to Byron Staton of Bloom Medicinals and Wondergrove for hooking us up with access to this epic festival. President of the Besa Hospitality Group, Joey Pintozzi spoke with Respect My Region to give his take on what 4/20 means to him, the inspiration behind the venue, his favorite strain, and more.
Interview with Joey Pintozzi, President of the Besa Hospitality Group
RMR: What does 4/20 mean to you?
Pintozzi: 4/20 for me is something special; it’s not just about cannabis, but about what we accomplished in this state. The state of Missouri within the past year, ending prohibition, moving forward, taking the steps beyond the stigma that cannabis has had, so it’s a celebration this year of what we have accomplished inside and outside the state.
RMR: What was the inspiration for this venue and area?
Pintozzi: The inspiration was- well, we had an opportunity a while back to approach the building of the village event of where we’re standing. It’s home, and they allowed legal consumption. So, we pitched them a crazy concept for an entertainment district, and we wanted to build that you’ll probably see the fruits of those labors the end of 2024, early 2025, with a river walk right down along that beautiful Missouri River. In the meantime, we decided in 2023 let’s get people familiar with the land, let’s get people familiar with the concept and vision. That was the whole vision and concept with the festivals in 2023.
RMR: Missouri is one of the quickest growing legal markets in the United States, what’s your take on that?
Pintozzi: You know, I think there’s a variety of reasons. One of them is, we are the only state in America that’s bordered by eight states, so the influx of people of who accept cannabis and want to use cannabis is significant and I just think it’s a great industry here. I think we did everything right. Missouri did an incredible job. We have great people, sky’s the limit with this industry!
RMR: Can Missouri expect similar festivals that cater to cannabis activities and if so, what does that possibly look like?
Pintozzi: Sure! We want to keep going, we want this to be the introduction and we have plans for the July festival, we have locked in dates for September and October, and until we get the amphitheater open itself, we’re going to have multiple festivals. This is a beautiful night, I didn’t expect this, and I get a little emotional talking about it, but what a beautiful crowd of a mixture of people, all backgrounds, just awesome!
RMR: What is your favorite strain right now?
Pintozzi: Believe it or not, but I’m a big purple [camp?] guy. If I use carts here in Missouri, I’m a Smokey River Cannabis guy, –We have our own brand, here in the state of Missouri. I’ve always been a purple [pen?] guy, also Gelato. Who doesn’t like Gelato? But yes– those are my go-to’s.
RMR: Best BBQ in Kansas City?
Pintozzi: You’re going to get me caught up there! Because traditionally I’ve always gone to Arthur Bryant’s, but Slap’s is really strong. Joe’s, Oklahoma Joe’s is good and Q39. I would say if I had to push it all aside, I would have to go with Arthur Bryant.